Lipscomb community raises more than $11,000 for The Contributor street paper

By Janel Shoun-Smith on 10/1/2013

   
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Recently, Lipscomb University administration, faculty, staff and students all came together to help save a local nonprofit providing a much-needed service for the homeless of Nashville.

Lipscomb faculty present the student, faculty and staff donation to Tasha French Lemley.
President Randy Lowry matched the gift to double the impact for The Contributor.

In September, the Contributor newspaper, a local nonprofit that publishes a newspaper sold exclusively by homeless and formerly homeless vendors on the streets of Nashville, announced that unless enough money could be raised in the next month, the September issue would be its last.

The organization, which involved Lipscomb alumni in its early establishment and Lipscomb alumnus, Andrew Krinks (’08), as its first editor, provides the vendors with a source of income while also providing a diversity of perspectives and information on the condition of homelessness.

Vendors purchase newspaper for 25 cents each, and sell them for $1, but they often receive up to $2 including tips. There are 400 Contributor vendors in Nashville, and many of them now have a roof over their heads thanks to this income.

So imagine how excited Contributor founder and executive director Tasha French Lemley was when the Lipscomb community came together in September to donate $11,277.76 to the organization. Half the money was raised by students, faculty and staff, and Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry pledged the university to match their donations.

According to Lemley, who came to Lipscomb’s Gathering to receive the donation, Contributor vendors sell about 50,000 newspapers each week. The Lipscomb gift of $11,277.76 is enough to fund publication of two weeks’ worth of newspaper. So the Lipscomb donation will end up placing $100,000 into the pockets of homeless and formerly homeless Nashvillians, she said.

“Including the Lipscomb donation, we have had about 1,000 donors reach out to us at this time. So we are now secured through the end of the year,” said Lemley.

“Lipscomb faculty, students and staff have all been highly involved with the Contributor and its worthy goals since its beginnings, so when we heard about the organization’s financial struggles, it was natural that we would want to help. It’s like helping our own family,” said Lowry. “I was so impressed with the generosity the students showed, and I was proud they were so willing to sacrifice for an organization providing such a strong benefit and unique perspective to our city.”

Lipscomb’s service-learning office often partners with the Contributor for service projects and other opportunities, and will continue to do so, said Christin Shatzer,  director of service-learning.